Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

labelled with their botanical names, and the places whence they have been brought. A seated statue of Dr. Jenner, formerly in Trafalgar Square, has been placed on the border of the new ornamental basin at the head of the Serpentine on the Bayswater side.

A road for carriages has recently been made across the gardens in the neighbourhood of the Serpentine, to facilitate communication between the districts north and south of Hyde Park. Tolls will be levied upon vehicles and foot passengers until the cost of constructing the road is repaid.

ST. JAMES' PARK is triangular in plan, and contains about 83 acres. Henry VIII. drained the swampy fields hereabouts to make pleasure-grounds for his newly acquired residence ; and at their eastern limit next Whitehall, he had a tilt-yard, cockpit, tennis court, and bowling green. Charles II. added to the park, and employed Le Nôtre to lay it out. Pepys has recorded his visits to the park, which he found“ every day more and more pleasant by the new works upon it ;” and on another occasion, “ it being a great frost, did see people sliding with their skeates, which is a very pretty art.” Waller did not omit to pen some flattering lines on the park," as lately improved by his Majesty." The broad walk planted with limes, elms, and planes, on the north side, is called the Mall, from the ancient game of pale-maille that was played here. Pepys records having seen the Duke of York playing at pall-mall in the park. St. James' Palace and Marlborough House look into the Mall; and further east is Carlton House Terrace, houses built on the site of Carlton House. A broad flight of steps in a line with Regent Street leads up to the York column. At the east end of the park is the Parade, on one side of which is a Turkish gun taken from the French in Egypt, and on the other a mortar left behind by the French at Salamanca. The Horse Guards and other Government offices stand between the Parade and Whitehall. Near this park is the State Paper Office in Duke Street, one of Sir John Soane's best works. At the north-east corner are some foot-roads through Spring Gardens to Charing Cross, in one of which stand the newly erected offices of the Board of Works. On the south side of the park is Birdcage Walk, communicating at one end, through Storey's Gate,'with Great George Street, and at the other, through Buckingham Gate, with Pimlico. Near Storey's Gate is a brick house with some stone steps, in which the execrable Jeffreys lived. Wellington Barracks and the military chapel are on Birdcage Walk. Milton had a house in Petty France, and his garden extended to the Walk. The new east front of Buckingham Palace looks down the Mall and into the park. And now, turning out of the roads into the green enclosure, we may admire the fresh sward, the shrubberies, tall trees, and winding piece of water, variegated with islets, and alive with aquatic fowl. Charles II. planted here acorns from the Boscobel oak, which grew into trees, but none now remain. From the walls, many pleasing glimpses of fine buildings may be obtained between the trees. A chain bridge has been thrown across the water about the middle. The bed of the lake has been heightened, and the depth does not anywhere exceed four feet. The gossip about St. James' Park would fill a volume, of which the sayings and doings of Charles II. would form no short chapter.

KENNINGTON PARK, formerly Kennington Common, is a small piece of ground on the south side of the Thames, enclosed only a few years ago with iron railings. It contains no more than about twelve acres, but having been planted with shrubs, it is a great ornament to the neighbourhood. One of the late Prince Consort's model lodging-houses is placed at the principal gate. It is passed by the Kennington and Clapham omnibuses.

THE REGENT'S Park, in the north-west of London, comprises about 450 acres. In Elizabeth's reign there was a royal hunting ground here called Marylebone Park. Like Regent Street, it derives its name from having been planned during the regency of George IV. It was not opened to the public until 1838, although it had been laid out some years before by John Nash, the architect of most of the house-terraces around it, in which the Crown has some valuable reversions. George IV. contemplated, it is said, the building of a palace here. The trees must grow higher before the park will be seen in its full beauty, still that part near the ornamental water is pretty, but perhaps the most pleasing portion is that near the north end, in the neighhourhood of the canal, where there are some old thorns. In the park, the Zoological Society occupies a large piece of ground. The drive round the park is not much short of two miles, and there is in addition the drive round the inner circle, where the gardens of the Royal Botanic Society are situate. Footpaths traverse the park in various directions. Very little can be said in favour of Nash's terraces ; the style, like that of Regent Street, also designed by him, is decidedly mean.

Near Gloucester Gate is St. Katherine's Hospital, which consists of a chapel and dwellings for the brethren and sisters, erected in 1828. The master's residence is at the opposite side of the road. This hospital formerly stood near the Tower, but that site was sold for the use of St. Katherine's Docks for £125,000, and £36,000 were paid for the rebuilding, together with £2000 for the purchase of a site. In the chapel is the tomb of John Holland, Duke of Exeter, and his two wives, removed hither from the old building, like the octagonal wooden pulpit given by Sir Julius Cæsar, master in Queen Elizabeth's time. A school where thirty boys and twenty girls are educated and clothed is attached to the hospital. This institution has an income of £6000 a year, and the master's salary is £1200, each brother has an allowance of £300 a year, and each sister £200.

There are several villas inside the park—St. Dunstan's, the Marquis of Hertford, near Hanover Gate, where the clock with automaton strikers, removed from St. Dunstan’s, Fleet Street, has been placed ; St. John's, Baron Goldsmid, and the Holme, in the inner circle ; the Baptists' College, formerly Mr. Holford's villa, and South Villa, the residence of the late Mr. Bishop, whose observatory, under Mr. J. R. Hind's management, gained so much distinction by the discovery of asteroids and variable stars. The Coliseum is conspicuous at the south-east corner of the park.

Primrose Hill, another piece of public ground of about fifty acres, is to the north of Regent's Park, and only separated from it by a road. The view from the top, which has an elevation of 206 feet above the Thames, is very good, extending over the whole of London, and the country to the north. In a ditch at the foot was found the body of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, whose murder in 1678 was asserted by Titus Oates to have been committed by the papists. Through the ridge adjoining the hill, the North Western Railway passes by a tunnel of 3493 feet long.

VICTORIA PARK, Bethnal Green, in the east of London, has been formed within the last few years at a cost of £130,000, part of which was supplied by the Duke of Sutherland's payment of £72,000 for Stafford House. It has been ornamented with three pieces of water, and has been planted with shrubs. A gymnasium has been built, and cricket and archery grounds formed. In a few years its appearance will be greatly improved by the growth of the trees, and it will be of essential advantage to the inhabitants of this part of the world of London.

CHAPTER THE TWENTY-NINTH.*

PRINCIPAL STREETS IN THE CITY.

Fleet Street-Temple Bar-Ludgate Hill and Street-St. Paul's Church

yard-Chancery Lane-Holborn — Newgate Street - Aldersgate Street-Cheapside, and the Poultry_Streets by the Bank of England—Moorgate Street, and Finsbury—Threadneedle Street-Cornhill-Bishopgate Street, and Crosly Hall— Lombard Street-Fenchurch Street-King William Street—London Stone-Old City Mansions.

WITHIN a radius of six miles from Charing Cross there are 2637 miles of street. Immense sums have been laid out from time to time in improving London. Regent Street cost upwards of a million and a half, of which more than a million was expended in purchasing property. Improvements in Regent's Park (where the land belonged to the crown, and was not paid for) cost £120,000. Those at Charing Cross cost upwards of a million. New Oxford Street cost £290,000, of which £114,000 was paid for land to the Duke of Bedford. Cannon Street (1166 yards), in the City, was opened at an expense of £589,470. Battersea Park cost upwards of £300,000, and Victoria Park about £130,000. The cost of 5659 yards of new street was £2,034,872, or £359 per yard of length of street.

Works are now in progress by which new streets are being formed, or old ones widened, in various parts of the metropolis. Improvements in the thoroughfares of the city, particularly Ludgate Hill, St. Paul's Churchyard, and Cheapside, have long been pressingly needed. The crowding becomes greater, and the stoppages more numerous, every day. Many plans have been put forward, but the immense expense attending them has hitherto

* The reader will find, by reference to the index, some further description of those places the names of which are printed in capital letters in the succeeding pages.

« AnteriorContinua »